At six years old, Melanie yearned for a family to call her own. She had spent most of her life in foster care, having been placed there when she was only two and unable to recall her birth parents.
Melanie often wondered about her biological parents, questioning if they ever loved her. Her musings often ended in tears, as she whispered to herself, “Why didn’t they want me?”
However, one day, her prayers were answered when a social worker and a young couple visited her. The man winked and grinned at Melanie, while the woman had the kindest eyes she had ever seen.
The social worker introduced the couple as Gordon and Helen, who expressed their desire to adopt Melanie. Overwhelmed with surprise, Melanie asked them suspiciously, “Why do you want to do that?”
While Gordon looked taken aback, Helen knelt down and met Melanie’s gaze, explaining, “We want to adopt you because you are the nicest, funniest, and prettiest girl in all of New York City, and we want you to be our daughter.”
Overcome with joy, Melanie beamed and hugged Helen tightly. Finally, she had found a family who wanted her for who she was and was willing to love her unconditionally.
Living with Gordon and Helen, Melanie discovered the joys and struggles of having parents. On one hand, it was wonderful to have two people who loved and cared for her all the time. However, it was also a challenge because they were always attentive and noticed when she didn’t fulfill her responsibilities.
Melanie quickly learned that she couldn’t avoid doing her homework or misbehave like she did in her previous foster home. In a real family, people truly care about you and hold you accountable. Although it was a difficult adjustment, Melanie eventually appreciated the structure and love that Gordon and Helen provided.
As time passed, the family settled into a comfortable routine. They developed a deep understanding of each other’s quirks and preferences. Melanie learned to be quiet in the mornings for Gordon’s sake, and Gordon learned to avoid scaring her with plastic spiders.
Helen discovered that both Gordon and Melanie adored peanut butter cookies, and they would spend afternoons together on the back porch, competing to see who could finish a jumbo pack faster.
Through their experiences, they discovered what it means to be a truly happy family.
Unfortunately, a terrible incident occurred when Gordon was injured at work and had to spend several weeks in the hospital. As time passed, Helen grew increasingly anxious, and Melanie could sense her worry. She knew that medical bills could be expensive and often heard Helen crying at night. In those moments, Melanie would offer comfort by hugging her and reminding her of their love for each other.
Thankfully, Gordon eventually recovered and returned home, but he had to use crutches to walk. As a result, the family began receiving bills for his medical expenses, causing Helen to become even more concerned. She organized the bills in little piles on the dresser and looked at them with worry. “We’ll figure it out, Helen,” Gordon reassured her.
Helen expressed her fears, “Our savings are all depleted, Gordon. I’m frightened. It’s not just us anymore. What if Melanie needs something, and we can’t afford it?”
Gordon embraced Helen and comforted her, “Have faith in God, my love. Hey, Melanie, why the long face? Didn’t we stash away some peanut butter cookies on the top shelf?”
Melanie woke up suddenly one bright morning to the sound of a party whistle in her ear. Startled, she opened her eyes to find her bedroom filled with balloons, and her friends Helen and Gordon standing by her bed wearing party hats and grinning from ear to ear. They shouted, “Happy Birthday!” to Melanie who couldn’t help but smile. She had completely forgotten it was her special day.
Gordon urged her to get up, telling her there was a surprise waiting for her. Together, they went to the dining room where Melanie saw a big banner that read, “Happy Birthday Melanie!” hanging on the wall. On the table was the most beautiful birthday cake she had ever seen, with silver writing and stars decorating the top.
Overwhelmed, Melanie whispered, “That’s for me?” She approached the cake and saw her name on it, causing her to burst into tears. She sobbed so hard that it frightened and upset her friends.
Trying to console her, Gordon asked, “Why are you crying, honey?”
Melanie replied through tears, “I’ve never had a cake before! Does this mean you love me? Really, really love me?”
Helen and Gordon embraced her and reassured her that they loved her deeply. Helen exclaimed, “We chose you! Out of all the little girls in the world, we wanted you!”
After having a fantastic day, Melanie went to bed with a slight stomach ache due to overindulging on cake, but it was still the best birthday she had ever had.
The following day, which happened to be a Sunday, the family was preparing to attend church when there was a knock at the door. Standing there was a tall man who asked Helen if she was Melanie’s adoptive mother.
“Yes, I am,” Helen replied. “May I know who you are?”
“I am a friend of Melanie’s late father,” the man explained. “And I would like to see her.”
Helen was alarmed and cried out, “You cannot take her away. The court has given us custody.”
The man gently responded, “I have no intention of taking her away. I just want to see her.”
In the living room, Helen and Gordon held hands while the man talked to Melanie. “My dear,” he began, “I think you will better understand the story I’m about to tell you when you’re older…”
“I am seven,” Melanie interrupted proudly. “I turned seven yesterday!”
The man smiled and said, “I know. I was there when you were born. You must know that your mommy and daddy loved you very much, Melanie. But when you were a year old, your mother passed away.”
“Not long after, your father discovered that he was very ill. He wanted to make sure he did everything he could for you, so he asked me to sell everything he owned.”
The man produced a piece of paper and handed it to Melanie. “He wanted me to give you this money when you turned eighteen, or when you were adopted by a good family. I know that Helen and Gordon are good people who love you. This is for you and your new family.”
Melanie gave the paper to Helen, who began to cry. It was a check for $40,000. Melanie’s birth family had reached out and helped her new family when they needed it most!